Star Wars and ... Christianity!
I do not normally watch movies. However I
did go to see the new "Star Wars,
I - The Phantom Menace." Since
was speaking about it, I decided to
the crowd and see what the hoopla is
The movie itself is very average. Non
computer generated images and cutting
digital sound systems.... New planets,
worlds and pod racers. An action movie
for adults with a 13 year-old mentality.
A whole 2 hour, 12 minute saga. The
very scant. However the implications
innuendoes it promotes are puzzling
Obviously millions of dollars have
in marketing this film to make it rise
its mediocre rank. One other example
the media conditions what we think
"It's Only A Movie"
Many critics see a lot of Christian
in the film. The affinity is definitely
Anakin has no father, 'virgin born'
Christ. He is a slave living in a desert
hoping some day to set his people free,
Moses. Jedi Knight Qii-Gon Jinn believes
that Anakin is the Promised One (Christ)
of prophecy who will recreate balance
the universe. He proclaims his belief
Anakin as John the Baptist did of Christ.
Anakin has a unique connection to the
as Jesus did to the Holy Spirit.
In one scene, Anakin stands before
council, "as Jesus did before
priests" and hears words that
similar to the Gospel passage of Matthew
11: 3, "Are you the one who is
or are we to wait for another?"
Is the creator-writer-director George
pushing the envelope a little too far
new elements of the Star Wars myth
conspicuously close to mocking Christian
scriptures and beliefs? Lucas has been
to play down the religious-mythological
of the plot. At a New York news conference
a couple of weeks ago, Lucas told reporters
: "It's only a movie."
However, Michael Medved, author of
"Hollywood Versus America"
the follow-up video "Hollywood
Religion," points out that it's
to accept the movie director's assertions
that hidden religious messages are
"unintentional" and that
are just "reading more into the
than what's really there.
"How can you possibly admit that
things have been "overlooked"
major studio productions, he affirms,
directors and producers spend thousands
dollars investigating the most minute
of every scene, from the period costumes
to background lighting to the best
angles for the greatest impact on viewers?
Religious objects, images and especially
dialogue, he maintains, are carefully
and reworked until the effect is "just
The Man Behind The Myth
The real man behind the myth is not
George Lucas but Joseph Campbell. Campbell
was a philosopher of religion and mythologist,
an accomplished writer. Lucas affectionately
calls him as "my Yoda". "If
it hadn't been for him," Lucas
"it's possible I would still be
to write `Star Wars' today."
Born in New York in 1904, Joseph Campbell
was raised a Catholic. However he gradually
distanced himself from the Church.
on one hand he was struck by the image
of medieval Christianity as symbolized
the cathedral of Chartres, on the other
he really believed in Jung's assertion
religion can easily become a defense
the experience of God.
"God," Campbell explains,
a metaphor for a mystery that absolutely
transcends all categories of human
It's as simple as that." He died
Campbell's first book as sole author,
Hero with a Thousand Faces focuses
many tales of heroes who overcome great
to perform impossible tasks.
Campbell discerns a consistent pattern
these tales: The hero is called to
which he accepts; he is given charms
weapons by a protective figure who
and wiser; the hero then journeys into
unknown land where he meets demons
great suffering; the hero triumphs
menace and is reborn in the process;
returns to his homeland enriched with
insights that will benefit his people.
George Lucas just gave a visual interpretation
to this basic theme in his Star Wars.
Campbell saw this story as primarily
battle in which the hero undergoes
of self-psychotherapy, confronts his
darker side, and gains a greater understanding
of himself and his culture in the process.
This is the pattern of every man's
"Channeling cosmic forces,"
for your 'inner-self,' " "seeking
to balance the light side with the
are all expressions of Campbell which
trickled into the New Age phenomenon.
is one way of escaping from reality
the reassuring mythology of a distant
"a long time ago, in a galaxy
Following his guru, Lucas affirms that
religion is as good as another. And
"Star Wars as taking all the issues
that religion represents and trying
them down into a more modern and easily
construct." He basically eliminates
the idea of a personal God. The notion
the 'Force' is linked to the Eastern
of God, particularly Buddhist, as a
reservoir of energy that is the ground
all of our being.
Trivializing religion, promoting religion
with no strings attached is dangerous.
In the May 22 edition of World Magazine,
R. Albert Mohler points out something interesting.
"The mythology of Star Wars," he
affirms, "is perfectly adapted to the
spiritual confusion of post modern America.
'Go with the Force' is about all many citizens
can muster as spirituality. When Christianity
ceases to be the dominant world view of a
culture, paganism is quick to fill the void,"
with disastrous consequences. See Littleton,
Is it 'May the Force be with you' or
THE LORD be with you'?
Personally, I prefer the latter!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright